Thursday 30 October 2014

'We would have preferred to abort Gammy' - Thai surrogacy couple break silence

Jonathan Pearlman


Published 11/08/2014 | 02:30

David Farnell and wife Wendy pose with their baby Pipah in Australia. The Australian couple have denied that they abandoned their son born with Down syndrome to a Thai surrogate. Photo: AP
David Farnell and wife Wendy pose with their baby Pipah in Australia. The Australian couple have denied that they abandoned their son born with Down syndrome to a Thai surrogate. Photo: AP

THE Australian couple accused of abandoning their surrogate baby in Thailand have admitted they would have preferred to abort the boy, who has Down's syndrome, because "no parent wants a son with a disability".

In their first public comments since it emerged that they had left the boy called Gammy and returned to Australia with his healthy twin sister, Pipah, David and Wendy Farnell said that they had learnt of his condition too late to terminate and now wanted him back.

"If it would have been safe for the embryo to have been terminated, we probably would have terminated it," Mr Farnell said. But he denied in an interview on Australian TV that the couple had abandoned the baby: "I don't think any parent wants a son with a disability. (But) no, we never abandoned him. No, we never said to the surrogate mother to have an abortion.

"We didn't give up on him. The surrogate mother wanted to take our girl. . . So we had to try and get out of there as fast as we could."

The case has made headlines around the world and fuelled concerns about the oversight of international commercial surrogacy.

And it took an additional twist when it emerged that Mr Farnell (56) had a history of child sex offences.

Asked whether he was fit to be a father, Mr Farnell, said he "hangs (his) head in shame" over his crimes but no longer had sexual urges towards children.

Child protection authorities in Australia said last week they are reviewing the suitability of the couple to be parents and will consider removing the daughter. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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